This week, it's all about remakes. NBC’s new miniseries The Slap, which premiered last Thursday, is an update of a 2011 Australian show that itself was based on a novel published in 2008. The story follows the consequences of one ill-considered action on the lives of an already troubled family. That action, of course, is a slap, dealt by a frustrated man to another couple’s misbehaving child. But in line with the bluntness of the inciting action itself, Slate’s Willa Paskin writes, “[The Slap] is not an elegant, adult, psychologically astute miniseries. Instead, The Slap is a bulldozer: bluntly, gracelessly effective.”
Paskin praises The Slap’s (if you will) heavy-handed treatment of its familial tensions, saying, “[it] can be didactic, diffident, cartoonish, yet despite being not quite good, I found it impossible to watch without emotionally engaging.” Paskin attributes the show’s emotional success to its cast, which Variety’s Brian Lowry agrees is “splendid . . . first-rate and loaded with ready-for-primetime players.” Lowry cautions that the cast, however excellent, may not be enough to carry the show: “Based on two episodes, it’s premature to give the show an unqualified endorsement. But it does represent the kind of drama that should appeal to a sophisticated palate if the ongoing quality justifies first impressions.” Vulture’s Brian Barret is also hesitantly optimistic about The Slap’s success, but he thinks the show’s real point isn’t a surface-level discussion of parenting techniques. “The Slap is as much a serious meditation on parenting philosophies as Moby Dick is a serious meditation ...1
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The Critics' Roundup: 'The Slap' and 'Kingsman'
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